Better With Age


The snow in Raleigh this past week was a bit disappointing.  There was a smidge covering a solid layer of sleet.  You can’t make a snowman out of sleet.

In year’s past, Lisa and I worked hard on these days to keep the girls from climbing the walls: snow angels, sledding, hot chocolate and tons of soaking wet laundry.  We were exhausted by their bedtime.

All of my kids were home last weekend, and there we were – with no plans and no strong desire to venture out.  Thus the beauty of their ages: 19, 16 and 14.  We are beginning to enjoy the same sorts of things.

My youngest and I sipped a hot cup-o-joe together.  I remember similar imbibes with my grandmother at her white, speckled linoleum kitchen table.  Michelle nearly used an entire bag of sugar to get the brown liquid drinkable, but I started that way too.

Stephanie and I went On Demand and began watching a new TV show on NBC, This Is Us.  We are nearly caught up on the first season, something we can enjoy all semester.  What a pleasant change from Barney.

DJ is spending a lot of time working out right now, so I introduced her to Tony Horton, the 50-year-old hunk who leads P-90X.  I happen to own a collection of his exercise CD’s.  We did the shoulder and arm video.  She hates Tony as much as I do and agrees with me that he has a major crush on Dreya who exercises on the mat next to him throughout the video.

“Clearly something is going on between them.”

“Yeah, I noticed that too.”

On Saturday night, we played Trivial Pursuit.  But knowing we aren’t the smartest family on the block, we decided to change it up a bit.  We reassigned the color categories and made up questions of our own.  You landed on Brown?  The topic was Family, and your team had to answer a question that the opposite team made up like:  In which city was each of your grandparents born?  Or, where did your mother attend middle school?

Pink was questions about church.  Yellow about the camp they attend.  Orange was school.  Green miscellaneous.

It took us three hours to determine a winner, but man did we have fun.  Oh, we learned a lot about each other as well.  That’s not a game we could have played five years ago.

Sometimes I lament the aging of my kids.  I wish they were younger, that I had more time with them.  I long to carry them in my arms from the car to the house, their little noggins nestled between my neck and my shoulder.

That was a sweet age.  But you know, this is too.  I imagine in ten years I will enjoy them even more.

Perhaps it is not the stage they are going through that strengthens my delight.  Perhaps it is the depth of our relationship that makes each year more precious to me.

91 Useless Hours



I am done.  I’m moving to Florida.

Can you imagine living in Boston?  I mean, why, why, why would you choose to spend your life, or even 45 minutes, in a place that feels like the Siberian Tundra?

Over the past three weeks, my children have missed more school than they’ve attended due to inclement weather, and they have also watched more TV than imaginable.

As busy as my oldest daughter seems to be, we recently calculated the number of hours she has spent watching the TV series Gossip Girls over the past few weeks.  I believe it to be about 91.  NINETY-ONE hours.

Can you imagine what could be accomplished in that amount of time?

Extreme Home Makeover could do an overhaul of your entire home, demolish and rebuild, in 91 hours.  You could fly around the world in a Boeing 747, TWICE, and have enough time leftover to play a round of golf.  If she moved quickly, 91 hours might even be enough time for DJ to fully clean up her room.  Well, the way it looks today, that might be pushing it.

DJ, Stephanie and Michelle don’t just watch a single show.  No, all three log-on to Netflix and watch television series.  Like from show 1 to show 200 – or more!  Michelle is addicted to Gilmore Girls.  Both of her sisters have completed that epic and have moved on to others.

They are now asking me to upgrade our Netflix account so that more people in the family can watch different shows at one time.

Guess what?  That ain’t happening.

Well, unless all four of us get trapped in this house for another 24 hour period.  Come to think of it, Netflix may be the only reason someone in this foursome is not dead yet.


Snow Day!

Posted by Uncle Jesse

Not only did we get a snow ice day from school yesterday, it came in the best way (for kids): going to sleep thinking school was still on but with a delay, and waking up to discover there’s NO SCHOOL!

For parents? Not exactly a day off, especially if you e-commute and were planning on getting ahead on some writing that’s due Wednesday when you know you’re going to have the girls all by yourself. But what are you going to do? Website editors are more understanding than bored kids, and, secretly (ok, OPENLY) I love the Michael Jackson Wii game. After today I plan on practicing my moves when the kids are at school and dogging them next time we play. What can I say? I play to win. After all, “no one wants to be defeated”

Here’s how the Tanner family spent the Ice Day:

Everybody piled into Dad’s bed

Beds: not just for sleeping


Pancakes vs. Waffles

Posted by Danny

We are a waffle family – we are NOT a pancake family.  I just can’t convice the girls.

It snowed today.  So what do you do when it snows?  Big breakfast when you finally roll out of bed at 10.

The kids begged for chocolate chip pancakes.  I suggested waffles – we have a waffle maker and you just slop the Bisquick batter on, close the lid and swa-la, a perfect waffle every time.  But no – they HAD to have pancakes.  What is the difference?  They are one in the same, I argued.  Bisquick, milk, egg.

“We REALLY want pancakes dad.”

If you follow this blog for long, you will realize that I am a pushover.  Jesse, not so much (he IS Lisa’s brother).  In this situation, both Lisa and Uncle Jesse would respond with, “We have a waffle maker.  I prefer to make waffles, they are easier.   You can have waffles or cereal, we have 13 boxes”.  I, on the other hand, melt at the puppy dog eyes.  Three girls in my bed, snuggling with their daddy.  “We really want pancakes daddy…please.”

When they use the word “daddy”, it just melts my heart.  And their eyes, they are so helpless yet earnest in their plea.  If I don’t make them, they’ll be so disappointed.  And really, who doesn’t deserve chocolate chip pancakes on a snow day?  They’re just so cute and beautiful.  And they love me so much.

“Pancakes it will be!”

I don’t have a nonstick pan or a griddle.  So I take out the metal frying pan which is warped on the bottom.  Michelle helps crack the eggs (I warn the others to chew before swallowing, I think a couple of pieces of shell might be in the batter).  I spray with Pam, the nonstick (not so much) cooking spray. And just like the last time I made pancakes, the sacrifical two – every time the first two I make get stuck to the pan, burn and make a mess.  I scrape them out – cursing as if I’m making Christmas cookies (see one of our first blog entries) and swear that I will NEVER make pancakes again (which I know is a lie because of the “d” word, daddy).

Step 1, make the batter

Step 2, put them in the pan

Step 3, the sacrificial two

step 4, stick to the bottom of the pan and scrape them in the sink

Step 5, remind yourself that you are a waffle family

What is it that makes me such a softy?  Is it the way I was raised?  My mother allowing me to stay home from school if I had a hangnail.  Perhaps I’m just nicer than Jesse – that’s probably it.

But this time, I’ve learned my lesson.  Today truly was the last time I’m going to make pancakes; unless I get a griddle; or unless all three girls climb into my bed and say, “Pretty please daddy with sugar on top…”

Out To Lunch

Posted by Uncle Jesse

School was let out early on the threat of snow, so I picked up at noon. I believe there’s an unwritten rule that if school gets out early you are required to go out to lunch, so I took the gang to one of my favorite lunch places: Big Ed’s

"yes, separate checks, please."

Of course, none of the girls were familiar with Big Ed’s, so it was met with skepticism.

From the back left seat: “Can’t we go to Panera?”

From the back right seat: “I vote for Noodles!”

Me, from the driver’s seat: “Oh you must have misunderstood. I did not say ‘get your votes in for lunch choice,’ I said ‘we’re going to Big Ed’s.'”

Big Ed’s serves breakfast and lunch, plus I was pretty sure they did a mean grilled cheese, so I knew we were covered. Plus, when you start the lunch order with “Three Dr. Pepper’s, please” lunch is pretty much guaranteed to go well.

DJ, Stephanie, and I all ordered lunch items, while Michelle opted for breakfast. This worked out well, because Steph wanted grits instead of fries with her grilled cheese, so we asked for the free grits that came with Michelle’s meal to be put in a small dish and slid it across the table to Steph. Cross-ordering for multiple kids is not something I’d say I’ve mastered yet, but I’m getting better.

Scrambled eggs covered with cool

But the best line of lunch, hands down, went to Michelle, who conceded after spicing up her eggs with salt and pepper: “I don’t really like pepper on my eggs, it just makes my eggs look cool.”

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